A new Walmart app feature lets customers fulfill orders by texting the grocery giant.
Unveiled Wednesday (Dec. 14), Walmart’s Text to Shop service is rolling out as retailers look to meet the needs of consumers who want more convenience when they shop.
In Walmart’s case, that means offering a service that’s connected to customer accounts, “so we know your usual ordered items,” the company said on its blog. “Simply text the items you need, and they get added to your cart.”
Shoppers can choose products from their local stores and the Walmart website and text “reorder” to add those items to their carts. When they’ve finished shopping, they can review their cart and check out through a text or on the Walmart app.
“Then, select the perfect time slot for pickup or delivery,” the blog post said. “With just a few quick text messages, your shopping is complete.”
The launch of Text to Shop comes as consumers are increasingly seeking an easier time when they buy groceries and other retail goods, often through the buy online, pick-up in store (BOPIS) option, something 25 percent of shoppers used on Black Friday this year.
But as we wrote recently, this isn’t just a holiday-related phenomenon. Over the summer, separate PYMNTS studies found that curbside and in-store pickup options have become more popular in the U.S. As many as 12 percent of U.S. shoppers used the in-store option, and 11 percent used curbside, outpacing low-single-digit numbers found in other countries.
And PYMNTS research has also found that offering a satisfactory checkout experience can be crucial to maintaining shopper loyalty.
“The frustrations that may mount during an unsatisfactory in-store shopping journey can make any [other] improvements irrelevant,” we wrote in the recent study “Navigating Big Retail’s Digital Shift: The New Payments Strategy Evolution,” created with ACI Worldwide. “Ensure that checkouts are friction-free by consistently testing in-store shopping tools, such as self-service inventory checks or apps, for technical issues or unnecessary complexity.”
Walmart attempted to launch a similar text-based shopping feature in 2018. Jetblack was a concierge service open to customers in New York City, who paid $600 per year to order products — aside from fresh food — via text. The service never became profitable, and Walmart ended it in 2020.
“We’ve learned a lot through Jetblack, including how customers respond to the ability of ordering by text as well as the type of items they purchase through texting,” Scott Eckert, Walmart senior vice president and head of the incubator project that launched Jetblack, said at the time.